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Alabama in the Pros

Wide receiver Julio Jones has Falcons offense clicking halfway through season

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The superlatives for Julio Jones have run dry and at this point, it’s perfectly fine.

A fierce competitor and former first-round pick (2011 NFL Draft), Jones headlines the best offense in the National Football League this season—the Atlanta Falcons. Coach Dan Quinn’s team is 6-3 after nine games, including five in which Jones totaled 100-plus yards receiving. His latest 100-yard outing came Thursday night in a 43-28 win for Atlanta over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones had his way with one of the league’s most veteran defenders (Brent Grimes), while being the second ex-Alabama star to bully Vernon Hargreaves, III.

Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan found Jones eight times for 111 yards, including a three-yard touchdown.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound target boxed out Hargreaves in his rise to bring the ball in for his team-high fifth score of the season. Jones is among the NFL’s leaders in targets (81), receptions (51) and yards per game (107.8), while topping the league in yards (970) and catches over 20 yards (18). He and Ryan have been on the same page this season, navigating the Falcons to 3,863 total yards (429.2 yards/game) and 33.9 points a game—both numbers stand atop the NFL. Jones is now 30 yards away from his fourth 1,000-yard season, and his average of 19 yards per catch has eclipsed his previous career mark from his rookie season (17.8, 2011).

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama MagazineYou can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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